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Why Being Made Redundant is like Driving a Car

26 February 2013

Two weeks ago I learned that my position at work was being made redundant. As I am clearly now an expert on redundancy, I thought I’d share with you some advice about what you can expect to think and feel if you are also made redundant. I have come to the conclusion that being made redundant is similar to driving a car, so here are five phases or responses you might have if you are made redundant, presented to you in terms of a car ride:  (Note: This is not a normal car ride…)




Phase 1: Rear-Ended

When you are driving a car and are rear-ended, it is never your fault. You are a victim, and you experience shock as you try to come to grips with what has just happened. You may have some injuries, and you may take some time to recover and start thinking logically. The same is true with redundancy. You usually don’t see it coming, and are shocked when it happens. You are reminded that it’s not based on your performance, that you did nothing wrong–yet it happened anyway. You are angry at the person who decided your role was redundant and wish the situation was different.

Phase 2: Broken Down in the Middle of Nowhere

This is where reality sets in. You thought you knew where you were going, you had a map, and you were on your way there. Now you don’t know where you are, where you’re supposed to be, or which direction to head off in. You don’t even know how long you will be stuck here.

Phase 3: Ring the RAC (or AAA for the Americans)

We’re past the blame game, and now it’s time to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. You’re angry. Make that insurance claim! You’ve gathered all the details, you’ve contacted the insurance company (or, in the case of redundancy, the Fair Work Ombudsman) and you’ve asked all your questions about your obligations and entitlements. You start to think about how to repair your vehicle (or your career) and browse the car companies (job advertisements) for good deals. However, you still think wistfully about your old car (job).

Phase 4: Detour

Moving forward after being made redundant is like taking a detour and never returning to your original route. You were driving along just fine towards your destination, when suddenly you came upon some roadwork which led you to turn off your planned route. Instead of detouring momentarily and then continuing towards your original destination, when you are made redundant the detour becomes permanent. Sometimes it can eventually lead to a similar destination, if you end up in the role you were working towards but with a different company, but it will never lead to the exact destination you set out to reach. However, you will find that the detour brought you some new and exciting opportunities–a lookout point or a giant wooden aardvark you otherwise would have missed. It’s at this point that you begin to think about the future and what it might hold for you.

Phase 5: Road Trip

This is the part where you realise the whole world is open to you! Before your redundancy, you had a set path and couldn’t have veered off course without disrupting your chances at reaching your goal. Now, you can do anything you want. You have received a redundancy package, which should help you through the next few months, and you can choose to continue on a similar road or you can turn onto a new road and see what is there to discover–either way, you will get somewhere good.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 March 2013 17:00

    I’m sorry to hear about your job!

    This, however, is a fantastically imaginative, descriptive and precise metaphor- maybe you should spend more of your time writing? Good luck on your road trip- may you enjoy wonderful experiences along the way and end up at your perfect destination.

    • 2 March 2013 21:39

      Thank you! (-: I agree, I should spend more of my time writing. I do enjoy it.

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